The weather bureau officially declared summer on Monday, warning of sizzling temperatures that could go beyond 35 degrees Celsius come May.
Advising the public against leaving home without protection from the searing heat, Ricky Fabregas, forecaster at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), said it would be better if people reserved going out only for important errands.
Pagasa said that the amihan (northeast monsoon) had ended and that the easterlies, moist and warm winds from the Pacific Ocean moving from east to west in the lower latitudes of the equator, were in effect.
Fabregas said the end of the amihan was the bureau’s primary indicator of the onset of summer.
Pagasa Administrator Nathaniel Servando said in a weather outlook bulletin for March that during the month, near normal rainfall conditions were likely in most areas of the country except Central Luzon.
“Slightly warmer-than-average air temperatures will be felt in most parts of the country, except for some areas in Luzon which will likely experience near average air temperatures,” Servando said.
The average air temperature in the country is 33 degrees Celsius.
The bulletin added that the expected temperature range in the lowlands of Luzon was from 21 degrees to 35 degrees, and from 13 degrees to 26 degrees in mountainous areas.
In the Visayas, Pagasa expects temperatures at 23 degrees to as high as 34 degrees.
In Mindanao, the expected air temperature range is 23 degrees to 35 degrees in the lowlands and 18 degrees to 32 degrees in mountainous areas.
Servando told the Inquirer that although Pagasa expected temperature to soar to 35 degrees, it could turn out to be much hotter in the succeeding months.
He said that the public should brace themselves for scorching weather during the Holy Week.
In its 5 p.m. announcement of the end the northeast monsoon, the weather bureau said, “The establishment of the ridge of the Pacific high pressure area that extended over Luzon has shifted the wind direction to easterly and southeasterly and the gradual increase of observed daily temperature recorded in most parts of the country signifies the recession of the northeast monsoon.”
The agency added, “Conditions will be mostly sunny associated with warm and humid air in most parts of the country aside from isolated rain showers and thunderstorms particularly over the eastern section of the Visayas and Mindanao.”
It concluded, “However there are times that strong easterly winds will prevail over the eastern section of the Visayas and Mindanao with moderate to rough coastal waters.”
Fabregas advised people not to leave their homes without drinking water for hydration and to bring umbrellas or protective gear to block the sun. He also advised the public to wear brightly colored shirts made of light fabric.
“Better yet, if you have no business to be out, stay home,” he said.
He said that based on the agency’s records, the hottest temperature recorded in the country was in Tuguegarao at Cagayan province at 42.2 degrees on May 11, 1969. In Metro Manila, the warmest temperature was 38.5 degrees on May 14, 1987.
Fabregas said temperatures may rise above 35 degrees by May.